NFL Draft Profile: Payne Durham, Tight End, Purdue Boilermakers

Ric Serritella on Purdue TE Payne Durham

One-Liner:

A well-rounded tight end with suitable blocking, sure hands, and a wide catch radius.

Purdue TE Payne Durham

Ric on Payne Durham:

As NFL teams prepare for the upcoming draft, one name that should be on their radar is Payne Durham, the talented tight end from the Purdue Boilermakers. Durham has been a consistent force on the field for Purdue and is poised to make a big impact at the next level.

At 6-foot-5 and 260 pounds, Durham has the size and strength to overpower defenders in the passing game and in the run game. He's a well-rounded tight end who can make plays as both a receiver and a blocker, making him a valuable asset to any team looking to improve their offense.

Durham's receiving skills are particularly impressive. He has soft hands and great body control, allowing him to make catches in traffic and adjust to poorly thrown balls. He's a reliable target in the red zone, where his size and physicality make him a matchup nightmare for defenders.

But Durham isn't just a pass-catching tight end. He's also a skilled blocker who can hold his own in the run game. He has good technique and uses his size and strength to create running lanes for his teammates. He's a willing blocker who takes pride in his ability to contribute to his team's success in all phases of the game.

Durham's versatility and work ethic make him an ideal candidate for any NFL team looking to add a talented tight end to their roster. He's a player who can make probably year 2 and has the potential to become a star in the league.

Off the field, Durham is a dedicated and focused individual who takes his training and preparation seriously. He's a leader on his team and has earned the respect of his coaches and teammates for his hard work and dedication.

In terms of areas for improvement, Durham could work on his speed and agility to become an even more dangerous weapon in the passing game. But overall, he's a highly skilled and talented player who is ready to take his game to the next level.

#87 Pos: TE
Ht: 6053 Wt: 260

Hand: 958 Arm: 3358 Wing: 8018

40: 4.85

DOB: 6/15/2000
Hometown: Suwanee, GA
High School: Peachtree Ridge
Eligibility: 2023

Evaluation:

Good length and a stout, athletic frame. In-line Y alignment along with offset H-back and sniffer roles. Also played as a nub and #3 in 3x1 sets. Excellent blocker. Kicks out linebackers in the run game, terrific on the perimeter when leading on screens. Consistent hands catcher, with significant radius. Great over the middle and in contested catch situations. Excellent elevation with the ability to high-point the ball. Can run seams and benders and make grabs in the face of defenders while taking hits. Not a very fluid or sudden athlete. Has some trouble sinking his hips and getting in-out of breaks. Not a run after the catch threat. Doesn’t have another gear or vertical element to score in the open field. Takes what’s given and presents some physicality but won’t make anyone miss in space. While he’s good at blocking second or tertiary-level defenders, pass rushers give him trouble and win easily in 1v1 scenarios. Durham won’t blow you away athletically but his physical blocking, easy pass-catching, and zone coverage recognition make him a worthy draft prospect.

Grade:

4th Round. 

Background:

Payne Durham started his athletic career in lacrosse before switching to football as a senior at Peachtree Ridge High School in Suwanee, Georgia. Shortly after converting to football, Durham was voted to be a team captain and named to the First Team all-region and all-county. Academically, the John Mackey Award semifinalist earned Academic All-Big Ten honors four times from 2019 to 2022. Durham has a degree in Selling & Sales Management and is pursuing a master’s degree in Technology Leadership & Innovation. Athletically, Durham increased his production every year with Purdue. From only nine catches, 82 yards, and four touchdowns as a freshman, Durham blossomed into a consistent weapon for the Boilermakers. In 2022, he amassed 56 receptions and eight touchdowns which led all conference Tight Ends. Durham was selected for the Second Team All-Big Ten after his senior season. 

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Ric Serritella